Paul’s Rant BY PAUL LIVIUS
Will a history of broken promises haunt Raytown City Hall on August 7th?
Given the city’s track record of broken promises on tax increases, it may very well happen.
Voters have long memories. Raytown voters are not an exception. One only has to look back a couple of years to recall promises made by City Hall that turned out to be false promises.
PUBLIC SAFETY SALES TAX: Raytown voters were promised a Public Safety Sales Tax would hire additional patrol officers. Proceeds from the sales tax were also promised to guarantee solid financial footing for the Raytown Ambulance Service.
Both promises have turned out to be true. Promised positions within the police department were never filled. In fact, just the opposite happened. Once the tax was passed, the Board approved a city budget that stripped funding from positions within the police department.
Here is how it would work. Once the gasoline tax, which is supposed to be dedicated toward street repair, is approved, regular funding for street repair would be cut from the city’s budget. The result would mean no real gain in money being spent on street repair.
Critics of City Hall are quick to remind listeners, “they did it before . . . they will do it again.”
PARK/STORM SEWER SALES TAX FIASCO: In 2010 Raytown voters were promised a “split” of sales tax revenue between Raytown Parks and Storm Sewer repair in Raytown. In reality, the Park Department received 100% of the funding for nearly six years. The Board finally did address the situation with a “split” of 70% for Parks and 30% for storm sewer projects.
AMBULANCE FUNDING: The Public Safety Sales Tax was also supposed to be used put ambulance service on a solid footing. If that is the case, why has the city been shopping for a vendor to take over the ambulance service?
Sources within the Raytown Fire Department have confirmed they have been approached to consider taking over the Raytown Ambulance Service. It has also been confirmed that similar discussions have been held with at least two other private ambulance services as well.
17 DAYS . . .
ELECTION OVERVIEW BY GREG WALTERS
Seventeen days. That is how many days are left until the August 7th Primary Election.
This election has a little something for everyone. Nationally, Missouri is in the spotlight because of what appears to be a November Election already being played out between Senator Claire McCaskill and Attorney General Josh Hawley. Watch for this contest to heat up to a fever pitch as November comes near. It will be one of the most closely watched races on the national scene.
The state wide vote on a Right to Work Amendment is expected to increase voter participation within Missouri.
Locally, the spotlight is being captured by a set of three poorly timed tax increase questions coming before the voters in Raytown.
The “yes” campaign appears to be a disorganized mess of hefty tax increases designed to hit Raytowners with a three punch knockout.
QUESTION 1 asks voters to more than double city portion of the property tax on homes and personal property (cars, RV’s, motorcycles, etc.).
QUESTION 2 asks voters for a two cent per gallon gasoline tax.
QUESTION 3 asks voters to approve a 2.5% use tax on all internet sales.
IMPACT OF THREE TAX INCREASES at one time has also raised concern of how will affect those on fixed incomes. It is unusual to see a city propose three tax increases in one election. The impact of all three will hurt those on fixed incomes because two of the increases are on items most people have to pay.
The real estate and personal property tax increases affect anyone who owns their home or a car.
The same can be said about the gasoline tax, unless you are driving an electric powered vehicle, you will pay the tax. The 10 cent a gallon tax gasoline tax on the November ballot has also placed a dampening effect on support of the tax hike.
The 2.5% internet sales tax, which was defeated last April in both Independence and Blue Springs by wide margins, also place an additional tax lug internet shoppers will have to face.
CONFUSING BALLOT LANGUAGE: The ballot language on all three Raytown tax questions is long and confusing. Voters are advised to carefully read the ballot language when they go to cast their votes.
Primary Election Day is Tuesday, August 7th. Polls open at 6:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. Whether you support or oppose the taxes is your private business. Let your voice be heard. Please remember to vote.